One of the best things about working on a team is knowing your work can be shared. But when it comes to sending large volumes of payments every month, most finance teams have that one person who controls access to the banks and cards.
While for security reasons it’s a good idea, the amount of time it takes one person to make everyone else’s payments grows as the team size and number of payments increases. This is especially problematic when there are numerous departments involved that share the same bank accounts.
What if there was a way to both save time and control how and when money is spent?
Let’s start with the basics.
Who are the decision makers in your current payment process? This can be a specific person, or it can be a committee that makes decisions together. It may feel right to keep this with the CEO or founder, but consider if there is a way to prevent them being a bottleneck as the company grows and increasing demands for their time make this unfeasible.
If you have a finance person, they might be best placed to make the decisions up to a specific limit and maybe add a second layer of control by getting your accountant to input the payments. There can still be control with oversight and visibility and we will review these aspects later.
What is the process for submitting payment requests? This process should include the reason why the payment should be made and who is responsible for submitting them. You may also want to have all supplier invoices sent directly from the suppliers into a dedicated email inbox, which will help if you need to locate anything in future, or share with your accountant. Next, will need to be the review to make sure there are no duplicates, the invoice is genuine and the amounts are correct.
Finally, you need to establish guidelines for when payments can be approved. These guidelines should outline the conditions that must be met before a payment can be authorised. This will include required information provided at the time in the case of expenses, or sign off from specific individuals if the spend was requested by a different person within the business and not pre approved by the payment approver.
Without payment approval software, there are a few different ways that payments can be approved. Either they are authorised in advance, which means the approver specifies what’s allowed beforehand, or the payment can be submitted and approved at a later date.
Often we see this being handled with spreadsheets and emails, but this takes a lot of time, increases the risk of manual error or missing invoices entirely.
Payments software like rebank with built-in approval functionality allows teams to set up roles for their members. By assigning admins and managers, you secure against anyone making actual payments, meaning managers are able to submit payments which wait for approval by the admin. This also allows managers to submit payments and admins to approve payments in their own time.
An ideal flow which we see lots of leading companies use, is to have invoices all collated via a single email inbox, then auto forwarded to rebank, streamlining the processing aspect and automating it entirely.
Managers can input things directly if they are specific department budgets, and the audit feature within rebank allows the approver to see who has added this and therefore, approved, reducing back and forth and improving financial controls.
The next step would be to approve in rebank with a single click - taking the whole process down to simply checking if the invoice should be paid, rather than the actual process of inputting it for payment and worrying about when it should be paid, as rebank automates that fully. Its also a single system for global payments, making your invoice approval flow minutes of your month, rather than days, and giving you back the bandwidth to run your business.